‘I remember holdin’ on to you
All them long and lonely nights I put you through
Somewhere in there, I’m sure I made you cry
But I can’t remember if we said goodbye’
In 1995, the last of country music’s bad boys, Steve Earle, released his opus Train a Comin’. The lyrics above are from the track Goodbye, and pertain to Earle being too high to remember if he bid farewell to those he loved. The second episode of season eight of Game of Thrones doesn’t share that same narrative with it’s audience.
On the surface, Winterfell seems to pick up where the previous episode left off. There was lot of schmaltzy fan service with more reunions (I hate Theon) and quips, but with the addition of emotional farewells. Which makes sense as we the audience have spent almost a decade rooting for or against these beloved or reviled characters and because an army of undead super killers are awaiting are at the gates.
However, GoT has always been somewhat unpredictable. If you thought Ned Stark would be beheaded at the end of season one, I would call you a liar. Or a reader. Neither can be trusted.
At other times, GoT has given the fans what the wanted.
And at even other times, GoT has been slightly predictable while still not giving the audience what they want. Red Wedding cake, anyone?
So what are we to take of the GoT team setting us up for such obvious outcomes at the end of the characters arcs?
Are we supposed to believe the the recently knighted Ser Brienne of Tarth is a goner now that she has the respect and rank she deserves? It looks completely plausible. Anyone that happy is certainly in trouble.
Or how about captain of the Trailer Park of the Sea, Theon Greyjoy, vowing himself and his men to protect Bran? Are we to believe that Theon, after betrayal, torture and a history of hurting those he loves has completed his arc and is worthy of a heartfelt goodbye? #TeamRamsey
The same argument can be made for Ser Jorah as he finally comes to his senses and admits that Tyrion is a more important asset than himself. That dude has been living on borrowed time for about six seasons and frankly, his death is overdue.
Oh yeah, Samwell is ready to put down his books and pick up a sword. Gulp.
Even B-Team characters completed arcs and were featured in potential goodbye scenes:
- Grey Worm advocates for the concept of ‘himself’ and professes his love for another human. Doing so is unchartered territory for any Unsullied.
- Podrick is seen excelling in training soldiers and even Jamie compliments his improved fighting skills. That is a far cry from being Tyrion’s squire. Oh yeah, that singing montage at the end was great. Thanks for everything, Podrick.
- Tormund, in Winterfell no less, drank giant’s milk in the company of the former Hand of the King, Head of the King’s Guard, Stannis Baratheon’s second in command and the only woman Knight in the history of the realm. Tormund is no longer an outsider Wilding, he is an establishment insidider. Adios.
Another potential trick by the writers is repeatedly telling us how safe the crypt is. In fact, it is so safe that the women and children should feel as no harm can come to them there.
Can Tyrion, Sam, Sansa and the whole brain trust at Winterfell really forget that the Night King raises the dead and turns them into his bloodthirsty soldiers? It is kind of his thing.
So yeah…either team GoT is giving us some quality goodbye time or manipulating our emotions. Or maybe both.
As for other scenes, can the most noble man in the realm have timing that is any worse?
Telling Daenerys who he is and taking the legitimacy of her quest away, just moments before the battle horn is sounded, is classic ‘Jon Snow honest-to-a-fault super bad decision time‘. That’s like telling your fiance you want to ‘slow things down’ on the drive to your engagement party. Wait until after, dude.
As for Arya and Gendry, I don’t necessarily see what all the outrage is about. Sure it was uncomfortable to watch,but Arya is a woman, not a girl. A far greater sin would be for the GoT team to commit is adhering to the trope of the loss of virginity equals death.
Thanks for everything, lovable GoT heroes and villains. It is going to be hard to see all of you with Blue Eyes.
#5) Daenerys Targaryen – Danny still has the dragons and the Unsullied and the Dorthraki, but she tumbles to #5 this week due to her nephew’s shithead timing, letting her father’s killer off of the hook and not being able to charm Sansa. Kahleesi is treading water.
#4) Jon Snow/Aegon Targaryen – Dipshit doesn’t move from last week and will probably make it out of episode #3 alive. You have to believe that HBO purchased a lot of plot armor for him.
#3) Sansa Stark – Our biggest mover this week, Sansa jumps two spaces ahead by staying cool under pressure, not accidentally sleeping with a family member and not backing down from Daenerys.
#2) The Night King – He falls back a slot this week due to the fact that Bran is the man with the plan. Do you know who Bran isn’t specifically plotting against?
#1) Cersai Lannister – Due to geographical isolation and keeping her armies intact, Cersai is atop the leader board. Of course, the Night King could exponentially increase his army in the upcoming 82 minutes and if that happens, all of the elephants in the world won’t keep her safe.
ODDS & ENDS
- The director of the next episode is Miguel Sapochnik, who directed such battle tested (literally) classics as Hardhome , The Winds of Winter, Battle of the Bastards and The Gift. I think we are in good hands.
- I can’t be the only one who wants to see more Lyanna Mormont, right?
- ‘Fuck tradition!’ and ‘I would knight you ten times over!’ I think Kristofer Hivju’s time is coming and that we will see a lot more of him in the future.
- Seriously, click on the Steve Earle link.
- It would be terrible to see a zombie Rob, Ned, or Catelynn Stark and it is doubtful that their remains ever made it to the crypt, but I still kind of want to see it.
- The scene where Brienne gets Knighted is a top ten favorite of mine. Get some Ser Brienne, get some.